Today’s Read: Members of New York’s Congressional Delegation Call on Cuomo to Back Program to Fight Homelessness
With State budget negotiations in their final weeks, a growing chorus of elected officials from all levels of government are calling for the budget to include Home Stability Support (HSS). This proposal, initially introduced by Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi in 2016, would reduce homelessness by bridging the difference between the inadequate public assistance shelter allowance and actual rents for households facing eviction, homelessness, or loss of housing due to domestic violence or hazardous conditions.
Last week, the Senate and Assembly each included HSS in their one-house budget bills. Shelly Nortz, Coalition for the Homeless’ Deputy Executive Director for Policy, praised their support for this vital program:
“Home Stability Support is the single most important thing Albany can do this year to address the homelessness crisis in New York State, which affects more than 250,000 men, women, and children each year. This sensible program could help keep nearly 80,000 families in their homes or in escaping homelessness, and it would pay for itself by reducing evictions, shortening shelter stays, and reducing other social and public service costs of displacement. We thank the Senate and Assembly for including HSS in their budget proposals, and we call on Governor Cuomo to join them in supporting the best tool we have to fight homelessness.”
As New York grapples with record homelessness, HSS has gained the support of elected officials from both parties throughout the state, including four Borough Presidents and many members of the New York City Council. Now, Federal officials have added their names to the growing list of supporters: Nearly a dozen members of New York’s Congressional Delegation sent a letter to urge Governor Cuomo to fund HSS in this year’s budget. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Rep. Eliot Engel, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, Rep. Grace Meng, Rep. Adriano Espaillat, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Joseph D. Morelle, Rep. Max Rose, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rep. Anthony Brindisi signed onto the letter to convey the urgency of implementing HSS this year.
Denis Slattery wrote about the Congressional Delegation’s letter for the Daily News:
The 10 Democrats sent a letter to the governor asking him to include funding for the Home Stability Support measure, which would create a new rent subsidy to keep people in their homes, in this year’s budget.
The program is a “cost-effective means to prevent homelessness,” the group, led by Brooklyn Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, wrote. “This much-needed program will keep families and individuals in their homes and out of homeless shelters, provide relief to communities across the state by stabilizing families and reduce costs to taxpayers by preventing evictions.”
Among those calling for the full funding of the measure are freshman Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx-Queens) and Max Rose (D-Staten Island).
The supplement would be applied to New Yorkers eligible for public assistance and facing eviction.
Assembly Social Services Committee Chairman Andrew Hevesi (D-Queens) has been fighting for the program for several years and is confident that it can work in this year’s budget, if Cuomo agrees.
“We’ve made an aggressive push, and I think we have a real shot,” Hevesi told the Daily News. “I believe that since Gov. Cuomo is the only person standing in the way that we have a very good shot this year.”